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Painting people on the late night sidewalks of the West Village, NYC, led to Romero leading art workshops for numerous non-profit agencies serving children and homeless artists, helping to give people the means and a place to present their talents. She was commissioned to make large portraits for the Canal Street Post Office and the Broadway/Layfayette subway Station. Here, the portrait was a form of engagement and getting to share trust with vulnerable people.
Later, Romero lived in Turkey where she painted portraits of friends and students.
Most of the portraits on this page are oil on canvas, 36x24 and 20x16 copyright 1993-95 The street portraits are watercolor, 1980-85
"...I guess Rachael Romero's richly colored deeply emphatic portraits of street people are the least compromised and compromising views of placement/displacement I know. They share a respectful affection with John Ahearns' and Rigoberto Torres humanized monuments of the South Bronx. Having worked the summer-night portrait scene for several years, Romero has a unique connection with many homeless people-as friends, not as freaks--which differs from that of post/graffiti and gallery artists (though she has been both with some success). Rather than lumping together the lumpen and the lost in a single bag as The Homeless, she depicts the lives of homeless persons, never losing sight of the social realities they resist being formed by. For example, her portrait of Gregory with dollar bill: he's holding it over his mouth like a gag..."
-Lucy Lippard, East Village Eye, December/January 1986, nyc
As an eighteen year old travelling in Europe, Rachael Romero made her living by painting ink portraits and found it to be a way to communicate beyond language. 1980-1985 she painted youth and street people on the late-night-summer-sidewalks of Greenwich Village, New York City .
Some of these portraits of veterans were included in the traveling exhibit :
A Different War: Vietnam in Art, 1989-91, curated by Lucy Lippard.
Detail of mural, Richard and his father
Broadway/Lafayette Subway installation
Vietnam Vets--thousand yard stares
Canal Street Post Office Mural, 1987--